Mike Leach got a raw deal from Texas Tech. The football program’s all time-leader in winning percentage was fired in late ’09 because of alleged mistreatment of wide receiver Adam James. James is the son of Craig James, a former SMU football star, who used his platform as an ESPN broadcaster to smear Leach. While the media prayed on the angle of Leach’s alleged mistreatment of James’ son who had a concussion, we pointed to the other side of the story — the one that said Adam James was a lazy jerk who was a poor teammate. Not only does that side seem much more accurate, but we’re also learning that Adam James did not want Mike Leach fired and that he found the “closet incident” funny.
Here is the other side of the story from Mike Leach, who wrote a book Swing Your Sword, which just was released. The two main points conveyed by the excerpts from the book are that Leach was fired because Texas Tech did not want to pay him an $800,000 bonus he was due, so they used the Adam James incident to push him out. The other important point is that Craig James lied what happened to his son and used his influence to get Leach fired.
We’ve blockquoted the most significant portions of the excerpt published at SI.com:
My biggest regret was not cutting Adam James. I kept hoping he’d develop a work ethic. He had two position coaches, first Dana Holgorsen, then Lincoln Riley. He didn’t get along with either one.
Months later, when Adam James was deposed under oath, he said he found the incident “funny” and that he did not believe that I should have been fired. In fact, he texted his father about the incident while in the equipment garage because he thought he would “like” it, since they both have the same sense of humor.
According to [the trainer's] statement, he specifically told James not to go into the electrical closet by the media room. James admitted under oath that he ignored Pincock’s instructions. He admitted that he let himself into that closet and that he shot a video — a video that would start a firestorm of allegations — because he thought it was funny.
I told [school officials] I was happy to cooperate with the investigation. They handed me a letter dated December 23, signed by Bailey, acknowledging “the allegations by the James family had not been substantiated” despite, or perhaps as a result of, Ms. Bingham’s investigation. They then told me I needed to sign a letter admitting wrongdoing on my part in the “mistreatment” of a student athlete. I told them I was innocent and I would not sign that letter.
As we said then and as we’ll say now, Mike Leach got a bad deal from Texas Tech. At least he has the opportunity to get his side out two years later. Lastly, he’s clearing his reputation right before the college football season begins. You know what that means? He should be a prime candidate for coaching jobs that come up. I’m looking at you, UCLA!Google+